Cephalopods, which includes octopus squid and cuttlefish, aren’t just caught in the Mediterranean. They are caught all along the Kent and Sussex coast as well. They’re cheap and delicious, but a lot of people won’t touch them.
No, they’re not the prettiest of seafood, and they’re messy to clean. But your fishmonger will often clean them for you.
I bought a large fresh squid on Hastings seafront from one of the little shacks on the beach.
Although it was extra work for me, I wanted to clean it myself to rescue the ink sac, which adds a nice flavour to the sauce.
You can read instructions online on how to clean your squid. It’s easy.
After I’d skinned it, I turned it inside-out and gently pulled out and put aside the ink sac, then I rinsed it under the tap. Then, using kitchen scissors, I cut the white meat into small squares.
INGREDIENTS FOR SUSSEX SQUID STEW.
All ingredients are approximate. You don’t have to be too exact.
4 tblsps olive oil
4 mixed red, yellow or green peppers.
I thought this was too much, so I just used half a large yellow pepper.
1 red onion, chopped
100 g chorizo.
I can’t stand chorizo, but I had some Serrano ham so I chopped that up. But bacon would do.
½ tsp chilli flakes. Or use a dash of chilli sauce.
Thyme, to taste
Parsley, fresh or dried.
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, chopped.
500ml red wine vinegar.
I didn’t have any, so I used malt vinegar, which added a nice tang.
25g caster sugar.
This seemed pointless, so I used granulated.
I didn’t have any, so I used a tin of chopped tomatoes.
400g squid. I don’t know what mine weighed, but it was a whole squid.
400g butter beans, drained.
This is a clever addition that I wouldn’t have thought of using.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Gently fry the onion, pepper until soft.
Add the other ingredients, including the squid & the ink & add some water.
Bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Cover with a lid.
The ink will burst and turn the sauce black.
Simmer for approx. 1 hour.
If necessary, you can cook it for longer. But check that it doesn’t burn. Top up with water if necessary.
Serve it with crusty bread or rice.
I used jasmine rice because it’s pure white and looked good with the black sauce.